Have you been to Amazon, creating a traffic jam on my book page? I still need you to do that to let Amazon know they should stock the book. But you don’t have to buy it there. You don’t have to buy it at all. But if you would like to buy it, you can do that right here on my website. Just go to My Books and click Buy Now. That will take you to my BookShop page. You can buy the book there, and it will be shipped to you immediately. While you’re there, you can read a 10-page excerpt of the book. I chose a 10-page section in the middle of the book. Seems odd, you say, to select an except from the middle of the book. You are probably right, but there is a reason.
Many, many years ago, I read in a book (I do not remember the title or author) that if you were molested as a minor by an adult, it was not your fault, regardless of the circumstances. The adult is always the responsible party. That was the key to freedom for me. So, I thought,” what if someone who has been abused takes a peek at my book but isn’t going to buy it?” I should put in that snippet the most important thing they can take away from it – it was not your fault. So that is why I chose the pages in the middle of the book.
Here is how that section starts and explains how what was supposed to remain hidden forever became public:
Three years into married life, I joined a group of women from our church for a retreat. We had a great time, laughing and learning together. One of the speakers talked about forgiving people from your past and letting go of resentments, and after her session I spoke to two of the ladies on the trip about my past. It was the first time I talked to anyone except for my husband about my abuse.
They listened and were sympathetic. But they told me, “If that man is ever arrested, you’ll have to tell your story.” I said, “That will never happen. It’s been nearly ten years since my abuse ended, and he hasn’t been caught yet so it’s not likely he’ll ever be caught.”
We returned home Sunday night, and before seven a.m. on Monday morning, my phone rang. I dragged myself out of bed in a post-retreat stupor. The caller was one of the women I had confided in at the retreat. Why was she calling so early, and why did morning people have to bother the rest of us? I tried to focus on what she was saying.
She asked, “Was the man who abused you named Mr. R?” I said, “Yes, how do you know that?” Her reply made my head swirl and my knees weaken, but I was now wide awake: “He’s been arrested. It’s in the paper.” I sunk to the floor in disbelief. She finished, “You know you have to talk to the police.”
I told her I would, hung up the phone, and dissolved into a puddle of tears. How could this be happening now? My life was perfect. It was all I ever wanted. Why did I need to deal with this now?
My husband, who had been enjoying his bowl of cereal and was unaware of the other end of the phone conversation, dropped his spoon in his bowl and picked me up off the floor. I relayed the conversation through choked sobs. He suggested I call our pastor’s wife for advice, but it was much too early in the morning to make any phone calls, so I said goodbye to my husband as he went to work, and then sat down with my Bible.
Turning to the Bible study I was planning to start that day, I read about how we suffer so that we can comfort others who are suffering in the same way with the comfort we have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:4 paraphrased). What, Lord? I thought. Oh no, I can’t share this ugliness with others. I don’t want this to be the thing you use in me. It needs to stay hidden. There are plenty of other things, other lessons I have learned, other experiences you can use, but not this one.
Fighting with God is futile. Really, the fight was only on my side of the conversation. God said all he planned to say in his Word and waited for me to hear it. I knew in my heart, even before the argument began, how it would end. So, with a lot of fear in my heart and butterflies the size of Godzilla in my stomach, I said, “God, if this is the purpose for what I’ve suffered, guide my steps and give me strength to do what you have planned for me.”
Three hours later I was sitting in the living room of our pastor’s home, pouring out my story to his wife. She sat in stunned silence. Literally, her mouth was hanging open. The only words she had said (over and over) during my story were, “Oh, my stars.” When I finished, she said, “I can’t believe it. You’re so together, so normal, so full of joy. How could you have gone through this and turned out okay?”
I told her that when I was saved, I believed God took away not only my sins but also my past, and that had rendered it powerless, hidden with Christ.
That’s how it first came out. Read the rest of that 10-page excerpt, including going to the police, dealing with shame, and feeling stuck spiritually because of my past. You’ll get a good idea of what to expect from the rest of the book. Thanks for your support of this project!